Many large dog breeds make excellent companions for kids. Large dogs bred specifically for companionship and mild temperaments are ideal. Guard dog breeds are not a poor choice but they are protective and may harm friends of the kids if they feel threatened. The best traits for kid friendly breeds include a mellow disposition, desire to please and owner loyalty. Ultimately, raising the animal in a loving home encourages positive behavior and traits.
The golden retriever is a popular family dog, according to the American Kennel Club. The breed is known for loving attention and is mild mannered. Bred for retrieving birds, the dogs have a naturally soft mouth and little in the way of defensive instincts. The soft mouth means they will not clamp the jaws while playing. Golden retrievers mixed with other retriever breeds or poodles also make good large breed pets.
The Labrador retriever is one of the most common family dogs. They are known for being affectionate and loyal. They are moderately protective but not aggressive. Labradors share many of the same traits as a golden retriever but they have a shorter coat that requires less maintenance. Some of the traits they share are a soft mouth, mellow temperament and owner loyalty. The strong desire to retrieve makes them great for playing fetch with children. Labs are good in a variety of climates and they enjoy the playful attention of children.
The Great Dane is a large breed developed for hunting and guarding property. Despite the aggressive nature of their background, the breed is very mellow and works well for kids. They are large but surefooted, aware and not likely to knock over or hurt kids accidentally, but adults should provide supervision around young children. Some individual Great Danes are noted as couch-potatoes and slightly lazy, loving dogs. Great Danes do require room to play and move. A large yard space provides a good area for them to play with children. Confinement in small apartments is not a good choice for Great Danes. Small spaces make them more likely to knock over children accidentally.
Bloodhounds are passive unless a scent is present. Hounds move slowly around the home and are not likely to knock kids over like other large breeds, but Breeders.com advises adults to supervise interactions with small children to prevent the bulky breed from accidentally knocking them down. The hounds are not overly affectionate but they do not respond aggressively to playful kids. Hounds are so mild mannered that you must instruct the kids to prevent incidental abuse. Raising a bloodhound does require leash training and an enclosed yard. The dogs will instinctively chase scents until they are lost.
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